A United Nations panel of experts said its investigation found evidence of war crimes, including cases of rape and torture of children, being committed in Ukraine during the Russian war.
“In the cases we examined, the ages of the victims of sexual and gender-based violence ranged from four to 82 years,” Erik Møse, chairman of the commission of inquiry into Ukraine, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. “The Commission has documented cases of children being raped, tortured and unlawfully imprisoned. Children have also been killed and injured in indiscriminate attacks with explosive weapons.”
The panel said it identified two cases of mistreatment of Russian soldiers in Ukrainian captivity.
The three human rights experts from the Independent International Commission of Inquiry into Ukraine traveled to Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy, visited 27 cities and interviewed more than 150 people.
In a speech to the UN Security Council on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the “increased activity of the international judiciary,” calling it “undoubtedly a postponed task.”
The commission said “some Russian Federation soldiers” were responsible for sexual and gender-based violence.
“These acts amounted to various types of rights violations, including sexual violence, torture and cruel and inhuman treatment. There are examples of cases where relatives were forced to witness the crimes,” she added.
Møse also noted that a number of attacks investigated by the panel “were carried out without distinguishing between civilians and combatants, including cluster munition attacks and airstrikes on populated areas”.
Commission members “were struck by the large number of executions in the areas we visited,” Møse added.
“Common elements of such crimes are the prior detention of the victims, as well as visible signs of execution on the body, such as Hands tied behind the back, gunshot wounds to the head, and throats cut,” he said. “Some of the victims reported that after the first detention by Russian forces in Ukraine, they were transferred to the Russian Federation and held in prisons for weeks. Interviewees described beatings, electric shocks and enforced nudity, as well as other types of abuse in such detention facilities.”